Talk about BATTY! This is Patient 20-0020, who arrived on 1/20/2020!! 😍
We are in love! This Brazilian free tailed bat woke up somehow during hibernation. He is good shape, just a little dehydrated. Since it’s too cold for him outside and there is nothing to heat he will stay with us for the next couple of months until he can be released.
We are so grateful to the folks at Grange Co-op in Medford for realizing just how special bats are and bringing him in after he was spotted in their entryway. 🦇
Overwintering at Wildlife Images
Insectivorous bats are excellent predators; a single bat may consume up to 1,000 insects every hour! Their natural prey would be flying insects which are very hard to replicate while in a rehabilitation setting. At most rehab centers including Wildlife Images, we feed bats gut-loaded mealworms. This means that the mealworms are fed a high-quality diet before they are fed to the bats. In order to teach the bat how to eat a mealworm, we start off by restraining the bat and putting pieces of food in its mouth. The bat will quickly learn that this food source is tasty. The next step that we look for as we are feeding is that we want to see the bat lean into the food instead of trying to get away from the tweezers. Once they start to reach for the food, we know they are on the right path. After they have reached for it a few times we can start offering food in front of them while they are on the ground instead of being restrained. The last step is that we will put mealworms in a bowl for them and they will eat out of the bowl each night. We clean the enclosure as needed and bats get a fresh bowl of worms in the evening before staff goes home. A bat that wakes up early from hibernation will not go back into hibernation until the next winter but as long as the patient eats, and there are no other issues, it will do fine until it can be released when the warm weather, and bugs, return.
If you find a bat
If you find a bat, do not touch it! Although it is very rare, bats may carry rabies. If you think you have been bitten or come in contact with a bat’s saliva, contact your doctor and public health official immediately. If you find an injured bat or if you find a bat that is awake during the winter months that shouldn’t be, contact Wildlife Images for advice on how to safely capture it and bring it in for treatment. Never handle a bat with your bare hands. For more information on bats and what you can do to keep them safe and help bat populations, check out the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s tips. https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/bats.asp